rep'-ing (qatsar; therizo): Reaping in ancient times, as at present, consisted in either pulling up the grain by the roots or cutting it with a sickle (see SICKLE), and then binding the stalks into bundles to be carried to the threshing-floor. If the Egyptian sculptures are true to life, reaping was sometimes divided into two operations, the heads of grain and the stalks being reaped separately. In Palestine and Syria both pulling and cutting are still practiced, the former when the ground is stony and the spears scarce. Even where the sickle is used, much of the grain comes up by the roots, owing to the toughness of the dried stalks or the dullness of the sickle. The reaper sometimes wears pieces of cane on the fingers of the hand which gathers the grain in order to protect them from injury by the sharp grasses or the sickle. There were definite laws established by the Hebrews in regard to reaping (Le 19:9; 23:10; 25:5,11; De 16:9). Samuel mentions the task of reaping the harvest as one of the requirements which would be made by the king for whom the people were clamoring (1Sa 8:12).
The certainty of the consequences of good and evil doing were often typified by the sowing and the reaping of harvests (Job 4:8; Pr 22:8; Ho 8:7; 10:12-13; 2Co 9:6; Ga 6:7-8). "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy" is found in the liberated captives' song (Ps 126:5). "He that regardeth the clouds shall not reap," i.e. a lack of faith in God's care will be punished (Ec 11:4); compare also the lesson of trust drawn from the birds (Mt 6:26; Lu 12:24). Sowing and not reaping the harvest is mentioned as a punishment for disobedience (Job 31:8; Jer 12:13; Mic 6:15). Reaping where he sowed not, showed the injustice of the landlord (Mt 25:26), as did also the withholding of the reapers' wages (Jas 5:4). In God's Kingdom there is a division of labor: "He that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together" (Joh 4:36-38). In John's vision he saw an angel reap the earth (Re 14:15-16).
James A. Patch